I do feel sorry for directors, making their metaphorical movies, only to find them hijacked at the merest mention of a lockdown, virus, or toilet roll shortage.
This week’s Good-Bad Film Club watch, The Cured, is set in Ireland after a virus called Maze, now cured, has left the authorities with thousands of ex-zombies to be reintegrated back into society, reintegrations which are leading to growing gulfs between communities. Many more, for whom the cure hasn’t worked, are being held in cells while the government and populace debate euthanasia. The Cured can remember what they did when they were infected; their dreams are tormented nightmares about their own pasts.
The Cured came out in 2017 and its Irish metaphors are clear, but… but… but… like nearly everything nowadays it’s heavy with accidental COVID.
When the escaped zombies head to a primary school my first thought was “you opened up the schools too soon!” before remembering that throughout the COVID pandemic I’ve been advocating just that.
It made a change from last week’s film club choice of Law Abiding Citizen though, as we moved from a super sharp-brained man who likes to savour a decent steak to several mindless zombies who want to eat brains.
The Cured is a good film actually, possibly too good for our club, but pretty grim. I’ll not lie, I was starting to miss Gerry Butler and his brutal one-step-ahead-of-the-cops Hannibal Lecter impression (I was half-expecting him to tell Jamie Foxx “I ate his liver with a can of Irn-Bru and some neeps and tatties!”)
Senan (Sam Keeley), one of the Cured, is released and taken in by his sister-in-law Abbie who lives with her little boy Cillian; her husband Luke, Senan’s brother, was murdered during the plague.
Yes, a little boy. For the sake of my tear ducts, PLEASE keep small children, old ladies and cute pets OUT of zombie films.
As usual my friend Liz and I had the Zoom chat on throughout the film expressing simultaneous shock and awe: DO YOU THINK HE ATE HIS MOTHER I typed. HE ATE HIS MUM!!! she wrote at exactly the same time.
The Cured, though, are sick of being demonised for simply eating family members, and Senan’s friend Conor – pissed off at being given a cleaning job when he used to be a barrister, and angry at his dad for shunning him for eating his own mother – starts The Cured Alliance, a political movement to fight for their rights.
If you think it sounds like a cross between 28 Weeks Later and young adult TV series In The Flesh, about reintegrating the risen dead back into society, you’d be right! Though while it’s probably quite low budget they seem to have paid for a decent number of extras to run screaming through the streets chewing people’s necks, unlike some strapped-for-cash indies which try to do zombie outbreaks / breakouts with a couple of their mates and their menopausal mum (no grey make-up and dead-behind-the-eyes look needed there, I can attest.)
Our other Good-Bad Film Club member again sat this one out. After last week’s reluctance to watch anything scarier than mild peril, this week she felt, understandably, that a film about a virus presenting in some as a long-term chronic illness, was a little close to home. (I’ve been agitating for Dante’s Peak as one of our club watches, which hopefully she’ll agree to what with England being pretty much volcano-free. So far anyway. This is 2020 we’re talking about.)
On Zoom Chat everyone’s basest instincts come to the fore, and we are no exception – we were absolutely in favour of the mercy killings, and guess what we were proved right. The Alliance tricks the clever but extremely naive Dr Lyons, who has created an improved cure and tested it on her own zombie wife, into freeing the remaining Infected – who promptly run out and eat a load more people. (Including Dr Lyons! So I hope she wrote down that cure.)
The performances are great, and Conor is truly terrifying. It’s not even simply because of how the public are treating him either; he thinks cleaning is beneath him so he’s the first up-himself zombie I’ve seen (a snobzie?)
Poor Senan looks depressed the whole time, though that could have been his Britpop haircut. If they were going to do that they should’ve gone the whole hog and had The Verve’s The Drugs Don’t Work on the soundtrack.
I’ll admit it, I was hoping for a nice upbeat ending, perhaps involving the escape being contained, the zombies being cured, no more people being eaten and little Cillian been absolutely fine and what does the director do? LITTLE CILLIAN GETS BITTEN. Christ on a fucking bike!
He’s not dead, or even undead, but Senan takes him away with him into the countryside, to hide out presumably until he can get his nephew to the cure. But more newly infected are being found around the country, and poor Abbie (a heartbreaking Ellen Page) is left at home sobbing without her little boy who is with the man who ate her husband. (Sorry, forgot to mention that.)
The Cured is only an hour and a half long, though we had to pause when my youngest came down from bed demanding a pudding I’d promised him two hours earlier and forgotten about (that pesky menopause again) and refusing to be placated with the offer of a fig roll. (I just know if there’s ever a really life zombie epidemic he will happily hand me over to the slavering, rotting hoards for breakfast after that one.)
The Good-Bad Film Club rating
This is a Good-Good Film – chew your own arm off to see it.
We watched The Cured on Netflix. It’s also available from:
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